PALMERTON, Pa. - The doors at Joey B's in Palmerton are still open.
Just like about every other restaurant in America right now, they are surviving a dish at a time. That's why something that happened there this past weekend, filled their cups all the way up.
"We were all very, very shocked. Very shocked," smiles Erin McGinley, a server at Joey B's.
McGinley was working that day. A group of regulars came in for a few appetizers and drinks. They paid their bills, thanked the staff, and left.
And then Erin noticed the receipts.
Two of the diners had a $14 bill, and left 85 bucks. Another bill was $19, they left $100, and the last person's bill of $60 included a $1,000 tip. A note attached said, "Cheers to a better year."
"I didn't even know what to say at all," McGinley says.
"We have some of the best patrons a guy could ask for," says Chip Solt, the owner and general manager.
Solt has owned Joey B's for 33 years, and says after nearly a full year of ups and downs, closing, switching to take-out, and switching to fewer tables, kindness did more than just boost their bottom line-it lifted their spirits.
"Everybody's been upbeat ever since then. I haven't seen anyone in an off mood since," he says.
Server Madison Molchan says, "It brought a lot of hope alive after such a dark time, so we really appreciate it, and we appreciate the business from every single person who comes here."
Joey B's splits tips, so everybody working that day got a portion. Most of the staff are college kids, so the money will go to school bills.
"It's not so much about a monetary donation, as it is to just be kind. For the people that support us, I can't begin to thank them enough," Solt says.
That's why the doors at Joey B's, and at restaurants across the country, are still open.
Because when a pandemic left an industry to starve, good customers stepped in to dish out a healthy portion of support.
"I won't forget them," McGinley says.